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A Tale of Two Dresses


Or how I found myself without a wedding dress three days before my wedding

With our anniversary last month and our fourth wedding of the year to attend this weekend, it’s safe to say that weddings are still on my mind more than a year after my own.

In the weeks before my wedding I admitted the pressure and stress I felt planning my nuptials, but I never shared (online at least) the dress incident that threatened to put me over the edge.

Like most Southern brides (none of my friends from the east coast seem to be familiar with this tradition), I had bridal portraits taken two months before the wedding. To be honest, I’m kind of anti-bridal pictures for several reasons, but wanted a trial run of hair and makeup so I had them taken.

B14 B33 B01 B06  B21 B23

Not surprisingly, after shooting in a field the bottom of my dress got slightly dirty. Odds are no one would have noticed, but it was my wedding dress damnit, and I wanted it to be perfect on the Big Day.

So, two months before the wedding I found a dry cleaner online that claimed to specialize in wedding dress cleaning and preservation, dropped it off and picked it up in the standard dry cleaning bag (of which the logo perfectly covered the embellished waist of my dress) a week later. I paid the cleaning fee (close to $90!) and the cashier handed the dress to me without a word. From there it hung in the closet in our guest room, presumably untouched until the wedding day.

I’m not sure if you remember, but  in the six weeks leading up to the wedding Jacob was three hours away in Little Rock training for his job. Because of this, the dress was just hanging in the middle of the guest closet instead of hidden because Jacob wasn’t around to accidentally see it.

So, for countless weeks before the wedding, I found myself working nightly on wedding crafts and projects until the wee hours of the morning. One night just two weeks for the Big Day, I was putting something away in the guest room when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the flower on the hip of my dress was gone.


Panicked, I tore the dry cleaning bag off of the dress and immediately burst into tears. The beautiful flower that I loved, my favorite part of my dress, was now merely a petal or two barely attached.


I quickly found a paper bag (the kind the dry cleaners give you when you leave things in your pocket) stapled to the bag with a random assortment of mutilated flower petals, several of which were had staples through them.



Not sure what to do, I called my parents at home, no doubt scaring the living daylights out of my dad when he answered the phone at midnight to his hysterical, sobbing daughter. My parents tried to calm me down, assuring me that the dry cleaners would have to pay for the damage and that we would make it work with the petals that were left.

The next  morning I took the dress to work so I could take it to the dry cleaners once they opened and confront the staff. In the daylight, it became apparent that the damage was far worse than I initially thought. There were glue stains and snags all over the dress from the melted flower.



More tears. I had a friend from work come with me to the dry cleaner as I could barely string a sentence together without breaking out in more sobs.


Livid, I confronted the manager of the dry cleaners, showing them the damaged dress and demanding that they fix the dress. Ha ha. They claimed that since the dress’ tag didn’t say the flower had to be removed prior to dry cleaning that it was a manufacturer issue and not their fault. Never mind that no one mentioned the ruined dress to me upon picking it up and paying for the ‘cleaning.’

Did I mention that I had purchased my dress a year and a half before this and the style was no longer available?

By some stroke of luck, the manager of the dry cleaner was able to get in touch with the dress shop I bought my dress from (four hours away) and the manufacturer (who had one dress left in my size in the country). The dry cleaners would have to overnight the ruined dress to the dress shop so they could confirm it was a manufacturing issue before the company that made the dress would overnight the replacement.

This was two weeks before my wedding.

And the dress would have to be altered.

Somehow, I had a new dress by Wednesday of the next week and the dry cleaner got me a same-day appointment with a lady who did quick alterations. Despite ending up with a completely different bustle (that came with a $300 price tag that the dry cleaners obviously paid AND which broke during my reception) than the original one that I loved so much, a week later, as in three days before my wedding, I picked up the altered dress and was finally able to breathe again.

As crazy as it sounds, the new dress actually fit better and in my mind the dry cleaners redeemed themselves by getting me a new dress in 3 days.  Granted, I will never patronize that particular establishment again, but I also won’t slander their name.

In the end, I had a wonderful wedding in a wonderful dress.





Besides, it made for a pretty good story, right?

Anyone else have any crazy wedding stories they never shared?

*all photos (except the ones of the dress damage) by the awesome Jon & Emily of Beaty Photography

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  • Alex July 11, 2011, 7:53 pm

    This story still gives me goosebumps! You had the worst, yet best luck ever!

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  • Stephanie July 21, 2011, 4:59 pm

    Oh wow this is crazy! I would have gone nutso on the dry cleaners…and cried…a lot! So glad it turned out wonderfully in the end! It looked amazing!!

    I had some mini-drama with my dress…my seamstress was NOT amazing in any way. The top of my dress ended up being huge (partially due to my tiny boobs ;)…but I was afraid to let her touch it after the whack job she did on the once-beautiful lace edging. I literally sat there with her and pointed out every piece of extra fabric hanging out the edge!!! She basically cut it to my height..and then re-glued the bottom back on!! Luckily my friend was there keeping me from all out punching the lady…and she reassured me that no one would notice…and no one did. Except the big top still bothers me to this day b/c I can totally notice it in pics. That’s pry why I never blogged about it b/c it still irks me a tiny bit.

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  • amacy November 9, 2020, 11:05 am

    One of the best tips for dry cleaning delivery service firms is to choose the items you want for your washing.

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